Peracetic acid (also known as peroxyacetic acid, or PAA), is an organic compound. It is a colorless liquid with a characteristic pungent odor reminiscent of household vinegar. Commercially available PAA products contain an equilibrium of PAA, hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid, and water. Peracetic acid is a powerful antimicrobial agent due to its high oxidizing potential. It is highly effective against a broad range of microorganisms and can be sporicidal. In addition, PAA breaks down in food to safe and environmentally friendly residues (acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide), and, therefore, can be used in non-rinse food contact surface applications. Some PAA products are effective against C. difficile spores. PAA is generally used only when necessary, due to its strong odor and potential damage to some surfaces.